Shaped By The Word

In my last blog, I shared the first of ten values that I am endeavouring to live by. That was to relentlessly pursue God, and in those moments when we lose sight of Him purposefully choose to hunt Him down. In my experience, and in so much of my reading, I have learned that God wants to be pursued and the harder we pursue Him the more of himself he wants to reveal to us.

So here is the second of my ten values which, incidently, is the primary way of pursuing God. This is ‘I will study His Word and let it shape my life’.

There is a guy who I meet up with fairly regularly, who is a great friend, and a profoundly ordinary bloke! But what stands out to me is that he always has his pocket-sized Bible with him. No matter what we have arranged to do together, whenever we sit down he pulls this small Bible out of his bag and sets it down in front of him. Invariably then, as we talk, he opens it to a page that he has highlighted and shares some wisdom that is so often relevant to our conversation.

This guy epitomises a lifestyle of reading the Word and letting it shape his life.

At one point, I kid you not, I went onto Amazon and bought a pocket-sized Bible in an effort to live in the same way. I am not sure that I managed to carry the Bible with me for more than a week. That said, as I have developed a stronger faith in God, I too have also developed a greater dependence on His Word.

One of my favourite chapters in the Bible is Psalm 1:

1 Blessed is the one
   who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
   or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
   and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
   which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
   whatever they do prospers.
4 Not so the wicked!
   They are like chaff
   that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
   nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6 For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
   but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

That statement in verse 2, about delighting in the law of the Lord and meditating on it day night, is what we mean when we talk about studying the Word and letting it shape our lives. A few months ago I wrote a blog called Slaying Our Dragons, where I explored the need for us to slay our dragons before breakfast. What I meant by that is removing all unnecessary obstacles that prevent us from starting our day with God. We absolutely need to be studying the Bible, but the dragons that we need to constantly slay are the relentless distractions that will make this lifestyle choice suffer. If we are honest, everyone of us can find 101 other things to do whenever we think of picking up our Bibles for a moment or two.

Going back to my mate who I told you about earlier, he is an incredibly wise person. I bought that pocket-sized Bible because I wanted to be more like him, but it was never the pocket-sized Bible that I needed. What we all need is to love God so much that we will do whatever it takes to relentlessly pursue Him, and the primary way we pursue Him is to delight in His Word. To read it, to devour it and then to live it.

So why not stop whatever you are doing right now, which, incidentally, is reading this blog. Pick up your Bible, or go to the YouVersion Bible app (other Bible Apps are available) and let God speak truth into your heart. I have a hunch that whatever it is that you are longing for in life, your heart is really crying out for more of God and more of His truth.

May I, finally, take this opportunity to recommend CVM’s contributions on the YouVersion Bible app ‘How Stuff Works‘. We have endeavoured to make it as easy as possible for you to get into the habit of reading the Word everyday.